Last year, European Research Council (ERC) innovation grants worth 150 thousand euros a piece prompted a full 510 researchers to throw their hats into the ring. A third of the applications received funding.
These "proof of concept" grants are part of Horizon Europe, the European research and innovation programme. They are intended for researchers who have already received one ERC grant and who want to get started on the practical applications of their research.
The Netherlands usually scores high in applications for research funding, and that's also true for these innovation grants. With 17 awards, the Netherlands shares third place with Italy. Only the United Kingdom with 30 and Germany with 23 walked away with more awards. Two of the 17 grants are for Delft researchers Farbod Alijani (Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime & Materials Engineering) and Frank Hollman (Faculty of Applied Sciences).
No single Dutch institution stands head and shoulders above the others this year. The universities in Delft, Twente, Maastricht and Eindhoven, and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam all secured two grants. VU Amsterdam medical centre also received a grant. Changes to the scoresheet are, however, still possible: these are personal grants and sometimes recipients take them along when they move to another institution.
Examples of the projects the 2020 winners will be pursuing include developing a device to measure sleep quality, and research into surgical robots that can operate on hard to reach blood vessels in a safe way.
Evelien Flink, HOP